Flannery O’Connor’s bedroom, where the author did most of her writing. The aluminum crutches shown in the photograph were to help the author walk around her ancestral farm, Andalusia, in Milledgeville, Georgia, due to systemic lupus erythematosus. While only expected to live for five more years after the diagnosis, O’Connor survived for fourteen more, completing more than two dozen short stories and two novels until her death on August 3, 1964, at the age of thirty-nine.
Under the townhouse where the legendary writer Gay Talese and his wife, Nan, have lived for over half a century is what Talese calls his “subterranean think tank.” Every day, Talese leaves his home, locks his door, walks down an elegantly curved outdoor staircase through a separate entrance, and enters this lush underground office.
Those lucky enough to see the house today, before the doors closed were glad they made it but were shocked by the stripped down feel of the beloved museum. A number of artifacts, such as the bronze plaque from the Edgar Allan Poe school and the lockets of hair from Poe and his wife Virginia, were gone. These and other artifacts were retrieved by the private collectors who had lent them to the museum. It is unclear what items, if any, will eventually return.
A work-room should be like an old shoe; no matter how shabby, it’s better than a new one.
For Hallowe’en, Frances and I made a witches’ room out of one of the basement rooms of her house at 8 Howard Place. I stayed overnight on occasions like this when we had something to celebrate or some parts in a play to rehearse. Hallowe’en was celebrated by a roaring fire in the handsome old fireplace of a room which must once have been a large kitchen or servants’ hall in that thrilling house next door to Robert Louis Stevenson’s birthplace (which was No. 10). I was familiar not only with No. 8 but also with the Stevenson house, by our time a museum. But I have also seen the house in my mature years. I think it altogether charming, possibly mid-Victorian, a town house in a row. Of course it had nothing of the more impressive Edinburgh architecture of Adam, the eighteenth-century lines of Stevenson’s later home at Heriot Row, but to me, and to Frances, it was full of mystery and stimulants to the imagination such as the equivalent, next door, of the old room where, with the lights out, before a flickering fire, we were Hallowe’en witches.